As previously invited by the WestPark – Fiddyment Farm Neighborhood Association (WFFNA), Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan, Assist City Manager Rob Jensen, and Assistant Finance Director Monty Hanks were present at the WFFNA Annual Meeting and Elections held October 15, 2013, at Chilton Middle School.
Mr. Hanks presented responses to questions previously submitted by WFFNA for this meeting related to the three Mello Roos assessments imposed for the West Roseville Specific Plan (covering the WestPark and Fiddyment Farm developments).
Question #1: CFD #1 (Public Facilities)--We are almost one-third of the way of full build-out for the WRSP. What is the current projected 'paid in full' date of our $80 million bond?
Response: The original amount of the two bonds established for the project in 2005 and 2006 was approximately $80 Million each. The bonds were for 30 years, so we are 11 years into it. The projected date for termination would be 2036 and 2037.
Question #2: The initial assessments were based upon 8,390 residential units of the WRSP. There have been specific plan amendments increasing the number of residences, and SPA-3 would have a significant impact on the increase of residences. In what way will the assessments be modified to reflect the increases--shouldn't they be reduced to coincide with the increase in the number of residences sharing the same land mass?
Response: There have been some adjustments increasing the number of units in the plan. Each land area is based upon a “mass tax” and divided by the number of units. As the number of units increases, the individual assessments could potentially go down. However, no adjustment would be seen until all homes were completed. Plus there could still be $10-$20 Million of additional infrastructure costs above and beyond original bonds sold that might affect initial figures as further changes are made to infrastructure. Developers usually prefer to use Mello Roos bonds for financing because they are usually at a lower interest rate than other development loans.
Question #3: CFD #2 (Public Services) appears to reflect a different starting rate for WestPark ($293) from that of Fiddyment Farm ($364). This is a significant difference, especially as it escalates each year. Why are they different?
Response: These assessments are based upon the costs of maintaining landscaping and utilities. Fiddyment Farm started at $364, but WestPark was actually $323, so the different isn’t quite as much. However, Fiddyment Farm has more amenities than WestPark, with the addition of various pocket parks. To the question of the future Sports Park, Rob Jensen said Sports Parks are funded through the City’s General Fund, not Mello Roos assessments.
Question #4: CFD #3 (Municipal Services)--this rate for a new development approved at a recent City Council meeting was set at $249.50/unit. The rate set for WRSP homes in 2004-2005 began with $293 and is currently up to $373.14 per home. What criteria is used for setting the Municipal Services rates? Why is this fee imposed on WRSP when other areas still building do not have the assessment?
Response: The $249.50/unit assessment for a recent development mentioned was for an apartment unit (high density) complex. The rates are the same throughout the City, but the tax is based on the type of development being assessed—high density (HDR), middle density (MDR) and low density (LDR) units imposed for. The Municipal tax is for police, fire, maintenance of open spaces and libraries. The Municipal fee is only assessed once the final permit has been applied for; once a year, the information of new permits is sent to the County Tax Assessor and the tax will be applied then. These taxes are only for this area—he said his research shows there are eight (8) patrol officers (5% of the force) assigned to this beat area [which would be Beat 6 which encompasses more than just WestPark and Fiddyment Farm].
Question #5: In the language of the Assessments, several items seem overlapping as to the services they provide for--such as park 'maintenance' listed in both CFD #2 and CFD #3, and park improvements in CFD #1. Could you please explain the assessments in more detail, perhaps with charts or overheads to detail the various items covered per assessment?
Response: Language of original statutes authorized back in 1982 state what is authorized and what funds can be used for. Although the language is the same, it’s the purpose of each bond that is different. #1 covers the debt service of the bonds (infrastructure and construction of parks); #2 covers maintenance of the district and neighborhood parks; and #3 covers police/fire/open spaces and city-wide parks. Mr. Jensen said they will provide more specific breakdowns. Funds cannot be used for any other purpose outside the WestPark and Fiddyment Farm area. To a question related to traffic fees being used in other parts of the City as previously stated, the response was that referred to a traffic mitigation fee which is part of the building permit fee and those funds can be used in other areas where needed as the City so authorizes.
Question #6: Last year, the Governor wanted the franchise tax board to start questioning the reporting of property taxes, stating CFDs are not tax deductible (per Mello Roos statutes). However, there was quite a controversy because most people believe that our CFD's cover the same services provided by other citizens through regular county collections (which we also pay), and people claimed they should not be considered separate as there was no easy way to identify services provided in many cases. What is the latest update for this year?
Response: The City can’t really answer this question—they aren't tax advisers; homeowners should check with their CPA and must judge what they want to do on their taxes. The Mello Roos are considered not tax exempt—because the statutes make the bond holder tax exempt, the state felt the taxes became the responsibility of the property owner. They gave no other update on the ongoing debate, other than to advise people to contact their legislative representatives to provide their input over the controversy.
Other questions and discussions:
Question: For CFD #3 which can increases up to 4% per year, how are those increases determined:
Response: The yearly department budgets are submitted, and if there are no increases, there is no increase in the assessment; if there is a budget increase, the tax goes up accordingly up to the 4% maximum allowed.
Question: What is the status of the high school?
Response: Discussions indicated the most current date mentioned was 2018; our kids continue to attend Oakmont which 11 miles across town.
Question: What is the latest with the Village Square Park?
Response: Village Square Park is tied to the Village Center development, and this is tied to the overall community development which is now moving faster. W-53 Park next to St. John’s Church is currently under construction for opening next Spring.
Question: What is the latest on the retail centers for this area?
Response: The City is currently processing an application for a large ‘big box’ complex on the corner of Baseline and Fiddyment Roads.
Question: What is happening with the new University?
Response: Two university sites have been proposed—out west towards the Sutter County border, and north of Fiddyment Farm in the Placer Ranch area. A contingent from the City will visit England for the west university (the land has already been granted) for which a proposal is currently pending at the City Council. There are 5,000 students in Placer County commuting to Sacramento State, and we want to keep our students here in the City area.
Updates: New vehicles have been purchased to help contain the odors connected with the transportation of the sludge from the Waste Water Treatment Plant. As Blue Oaks is extended, the trucks will have direct access to Blue Oaks and will not have to route through our neighborhoods. Recently adopted fees (to be collected with new building permits) for Phases 2 and 3 of Fiddyment Farm, Phases 3 and 4 of WestPark, and Creekview will contribute to the road extension which could be completed by 2020.
Mr. Hanks said further questions could be directed to him at the City Office Finance Department [email@example.com].